In my dream I am alone in a garden labyrinth. “If I could give you a gift today,” I whisper, “I would finish those drafts I let you read, get my stories out into the world.” I take a shaky breath. “But I’m scared. My books–and my life–are such a mess.”
In her later years she delighted in bawdy language. I hear faint snickering, then her voice from a distance, quoting the handwritten note to herself I found on her writing desk. “This story is not going to unfuck itself!”
“Too true.” I give up and laugh. “Happy birthday, Mama.”
This lovely photo of a garden arrived just in time for February 4th, which was my mother’s birthday…and the first thing I thought of was how much she enjoyed visiting the local botanic garden. I admit the memories made me sad, since she’s been gone almost three years now. I envisioned myself there again with her, was probably about to write something maudlin–and then suddenly I got a dose of motherly advice. She was not one to put up with weepy self-pity. 🙂
Though she had been a rather formal person most of her life, in her last years my mother developed a love of vulgar language because she found it so “juicy and expressive.” She adored the author Chuck Wendig, and because she was a writer herself she read his blog every day, relishing his writing advice. After her death I found a yellow post-it note, written in her tidiest printing, on her desk. It says simply: “This story is not going to unfuck itself!” which is a quote from Chuck’s blog. I keep that post-it in a silver frame now, and every time I see it, I can hear her laughing at me…gently reminding me (the way some mothers do, no matter what) to get off my ass and get to work.
How funny. It’s her birthday, but I’m the one who got a gift. 😉